Friday, 19 July 2013

Pepsi and Shirlie 'Heartache'

Chart Peak: 2

Charted at No. 50 on 13th January 1987, had raced to No. 2 by 3rd February where it stayed for 2 weeks.
As we'd all have known at the time, but younger readers may be less aware, Helen DeMacque and Shirlie Holliman had risen to fame as the backing singers for Wham! and in the context of this blog were last seen in the video for 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go' on Now 3. After George Michael disbanded the duo in 1986, hoping to make more "mature" music, the two of them were evidently at something of a loose end and somebody evidently thought they'd be able to spin themselves off into a pop career in their own right. I presume Pete Waterman had some involvement in there somewhere, as this appears on his Hit Factory compilation albums even though he didn't write or produce it. 

They got off to a decent start, or at least a better one than Andrew Ridgely, as this was ironically kept from the top of the chart only by their former boss duetting with Aretha Franklin. A second Top 10 hit followed with 'Goodbye Stranger' but subsequent releases, including a peculiar cover of 'All Right Now' by Free (also the title track of their album) struggled. The trouble was probably that, however important their contributions to the success of Wham!, they didn't quite seem to have the star quality to front an act on their own, and if they were anything special as singers it's been produced out of them here. In addition, the teenage girls who had been fans of George and Andrew weren't all going to be so keen on a female act - this was pre-Spice Girls of course. 'Heartache' is a decent if predictable song, and certainly catchier than the last couple of songs we've had but nothing exceptional and they never got to be big enough stars to claim the best material, or get away without it. 

Eventually, they both retired from active involvement in the music industry, though with occasional reunions and comebacks (they appear as backing singers on Now 45 if we ever get there); somebody has written on Wikipedia "Currently (April 2013) working as a waitress at the Mumbai Palace Indian restaurant in Coventry," but I presume they're referring to Pepsi there as Shirlie is married to one of Spandau Ballet and living in London. 

Available on: All Right Now

No comments:

Post a Comment